FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2023
SBS LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER LATINO AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESS TASK FORCE
Inaugural Meeting with Mayor Adams at City Hall Draws Dozens of Latino Business, Community Leaders
Photos available here
NEW YORK – Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim last Wednesday launched the agency's first-ever Latino American Small Business Task Force to promote awareness of SBS resources to the Latino business community, as well as incorporate feedback from local business owners and community leaders on ways the City can improve access to its services.
Created to advance the goals of Mayor Adams's Economic Blueprint, the task force reflects the Administration's commitment to #GetStuffDone by cutting red tape and making City government more accessible to small businesses. The diverse 40+ member task force includes individual business owners, leaders of merchant associations, chambers of commerce, non-for-profits, and other community groups from all five boroughs. The task force meets quarterly.
"The Latino American Small Business Task Force represents a major milestone in SBS's mission of unlocking the economic potential of all New Yorkers," said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. "By engaging with community leaders and small business owners on the issues facing Latino business owners, we can spread awareness of all of SBS's services to help them thrive. The work this Task Force is doing will help Latino American businesses owners realize their own American Dream."
At the inaugural meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, June 21, attendees discussed how their communities can work with the City to improve programs to make them more accessible, and highlighted efforts to activate New York City's Latino business networks and encourage new businesses to take root. City leaders, including Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, pointed to a variety of City resources that could benefit Latino business communities, from the City's Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) program to inter-agency efforts to support aging Latino communities and caregivers.
The Latino-American Small Business Task Force caps a series of roundtable discussions across the City as part of its celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month. Alongside the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, SBS held meetings with business and community leaders in Flatbush, Sunset Park, and Brighton Beach, as part of an ongoing effort of improving language access.
Chief Business Diversity Officer Michael J. Garner provided attendees with an overview of the City's M/WBE program, which certifies firms to compete for City government contracts and helps them to build capacity. CBDO Garner updated the Task Force regarding the state of the City's M/WBE program, including the passage of legislation in Albany allowing for reciprocal M/WBE certification by the State of New York. CBDO Garner also reiterated the City's stated goal of providing $60 billion in public contracts to M/WBEs by 2030.
Mayor Eric Adams addressed attendees, thanking them for being a part of his mission to spread the word of New York City as the "City of Yes." Mayor Adams recognized the historic barriers that exist for women and minorities, especially in Latino communities, and emphasized that the Task Force was created so City Hall can be utilized to remove them.
"The purpose of this is to help solve how we can better serve our communities," said Mayor Eric Adams. "We will not have all the answers today. Utilize City Hall. Meet here, bring your people in. We can do this together."
"It is time for a reality check – Latinos represent 28% of New York City's population and are the fastest growing minority in the United States," said NYC Mayor's Office of Contract Services (MOCS) Director Lisa Flores. "Yet only 2% of Latina-owned and 11% of Latino-owned businesses have been awarded contracts under Local Law 1. As major contributors to the City's economy and the vibrancy of its neighborhoods, it is time for Latino/Latina business owners to be active players in the decisions affecting their livelihoods and daily lives. Thank you to Mayor Adams and the Department of Small Business Services for forming the Latino American Small Business Task Force. Let's #GetStuffDone!"
"Ensuring our local small businesses, especially M/WBEs, have the support and resources they need to succeed is crucial to ensuring a just economy where all of us can thrive," said NYC Department of Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. "Thank you to the Mayor and to SBS for coordinating the Task Force to promote DCWP and other City resources and get more Latino New Yorkers to participate in our city's economy."
"Small businesses are essential to our City's economy but also are the first to provide an opportunity of employment to our immigrant communities," said NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro. "We are excited to see NYC take this historic step in creating the Latino American Small Business Taskforce to strengthen this sector and ensure that Latinos continue to have a seat at the table."
"Small businesses are the fabric of many communities across the City. I am very proud we are making a concerted effort to let Latino entrepreneurs, particularly Latina entrepreneurs, one of the fastest growing small business sectors, know what resources and programs are available to help them succeed," said NYC Department of Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. "NYC Aging in partnership with the Latino-American Small Business Task Force, will bring information on what opportunities there are to work with our older adult workforce programs to meet their needs. Such joint efforts continue to build an age-inclusive city. NYC Aging looks forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Kim, the entire Small Business Services team, and business owners to support New Yorkers of all ages."
"NYC's Latino-American community, and all of the great countries they collectively represent, are an integral part of the City's rich culture, diverse landscape, and unique heritage," said Citywide Chief Business Diversity Officer Michael J. Garner. "Moreover, the Latino community is an integral part of our great business community. From the street vendors we all patronize, to the delicious food we enjoy in the many wonderful Latino restaurants across the five Boroughs, to the thousands of certified Latino-owned firms that help to service our City's many procurement needs, Latino businesses are critical to our City. I applaud Mayor Adams' vison of increasing contract awards to Latino-American businesses and eliminating the disparity within the disparity. Additionally, in applauding both Mayor Adams and SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim in forming our first Latino-American Small Business Task Force. I look forward to partnering with them in further making NYC a great place to do business for all ethnicities."
About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.